For the past 16 years, Marvel Comics has recognized their top up-and-coming comic artists naming them part of their 'Young Guns' program - and now, they have a new class of artists… and a new name.
Eight artists have been named as the inaugural class of Marvel's Stormbreakers, spotlighting those who the publisher feels are "the next generation of elite artists in the industry."
- Pat Gleason, one of the rotating artists on Amazing Spider-Man
- Josh Cassara, artist on X-Force
- Peach Momoko, regular cover artist and subject of the 2021 book Marvel Portfolio: Peach Momoko
- Natacha Bustos, previously drew Spider-Woman and Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur
- Iban Coello, artist of the upcoming series Dark Ages and a rotating artist on Venom
- Carmen Carnero, artist of Hellions and rotating on Miles Morales: Spider-Man
- Juann Cabal, one of the rotating artists on Guardians of the Galaxy
- R.B. Silva, upcoming artist on Fantastic Four
"This year's Stormbreakers embody pure talent and creativity that, time and time again, have shown us all there are no limits to what visual storytelling can do," Marvel Comics' editor-in-chief C.B. Cebulski says with the announcement. "We are continuously blown away by their innovative styles and by the power in how they capture the heart, humor, and humanity of our characters."
Marvel has not given a reason for the name change from 'Young Guns' to 'Stormbreakers,' but the new name follows a similar situation in superhero comics. In Walt Simonson's Thor #339, Thor is beaten in fair battle by Beta Ray Bill and the latter attains possession - and the ability to lift - the Norse hammer Mjolnir. Bill feels regret over taking the hammer, and in a compromise, Odin creates another hammer, like Mjolnir, for Beta Ray Bill. Its name: Stormbreaker.
This inaugural class of Stormbreakers has a range of experience levels, from a 20+ year veteran like Gleason to Momoko - who debuted relatively recently, back in 2018.
"These eight artists have proven their unrivaled talent and passion for storytelling, and much like Beta Ray Bill, they are truly worthy of taking up the mantle as one of Marvel's Stormbreakers, the next generation of elite artists," Cebulski continued. "We can't wait to show you all what's next. And to all our Stormbreakers – take up your hammer!"
Marvel roughly outlines this class in a two-year term, with stated plans to offer the artists "exclusive new opportunities across Marvel's publishing line."
The previous classes of Young Guns artists have also been grandfathered into the Stormbreakers program and considered "honorary Stormbreakers in addition to their work as Young Guns" according to Marvel.
"There's a special skill set you need to have in order to draw comics at the highest level," Marvel Comics' executive vice president Joe Quesada says. "Like the finest illustrators, you must be able to draw anything and everything at any given moment, have the keen storytelling eye of a master film director, the ability to convey emotion in characters like the world's greatest performers, and the imagination of the greatest storytellers in history.
"But to be a Marvel comic artist, you need all of that as well as the ability to make your characters and stories jump off the page. They need to be larger than life, yet grounded enough that we all see ourselves within them. We're thrilled to bring together Marvel's Stormbreakers, a team of super up-and-coming talents who will continue that legacy."
Tom Muller designed the Stormbreakers logo for Marvel. Here's a gallery of variant covers by the artists of Marvel's 2020 Stormbreakers.
Ready to dive into Marvel's long legacy of legendary creators? Start with the ten best Marvel Comics stories of all time, according to our readers.
Editor's note: We have added a gallery of previously unreleased variant covers by the Stormbreakers artists to this article.